County OKs youth counseling funds
Mentoring will also be available at St. Mary’s elementary schools
Thanks to a hefty state grant and some county funding, counseling and mentoring services will continue to be funded for children under 18, as well as their families.
County commissioners approved at their meeting last week to spend $436,718 of state-allocated funds from the Governor’s Office for Children and $153 in local money to be given to the Local Management Board of St. Mary’s County for programs offered at St. Mary’s public schools, Tri-County Youth Ser- vices and Walden Sierra.
State guidelines for the grant require a hourly position for a local care team coordinator, which is $35,000 of the provided grant money.
Commissioner Mike Hewitt (R) asked “how many kids are reached” through the programs.
Kelsey Bush, Local Management Board liaison and youth coordinator for the county, said “roughly 500 … we looked across programs” offered.
“Some programs are [on] a drop-in basis, where it might be a onetime touch” with no addi- tional contact with a person or family, he said.
Funds given to St. Mary’s public schools are to be used for mentoring opportunities for students at Lexington Park, George Washington Carver, Park Hall and Green Holly elementary schools.
Summer and after-school programs at Green Holly and Park Hall are also to be funded.
Funds given to Tri-County Youth Services are to be used for the Family Access Center, where families can seek help for a variety of issues, as well as providing counseling for youth and their families.
Funds provided to Walden Sierra are to be spent on drug recovery support programs.
Commissioners have been accepting state money for programs since 2010.
The Local Management Board’s goal was to have more local control in tailoring children and family services to the needs of the county, a county government memo states.